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Duterte trumpets results of harsh measures vs crime: ‘Gamitin mo utak mo’

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You have to be human first to claim your rights if you want to stay alive in the Philippines under the government of President Rodrigo Duterte who appealed to Filipinos to use their heads and not their hearts in understanding his drastic policies.

This is how the tough-talking head of state approached the catch-22 confronting his administration as he vowed to promote and protect human rights while pursuing the fight against crime and corruption at the same time.

“Human rights must work to uplift human dignity but human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country,” Duterte said in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa, Monday afternoon.

Despite enjoying a 91 percent trust rating at present and while majority has welcomed his declaration of war against drugs, Duterte has been criticized for allegedly letting extrajudicial killings permeate throughout the country.

Duterte and his chief crimebuster, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa, have repeatedly stated it was not their style.

The president, however, kept warning lawbreakers particularly those under the influence of drugs they might really end up dead if they would not straighten up.

“Kung ayaw ninyong mamatay, ayaw ninyong masaktan—huwag kayong umasa diyan sa mga pari pati human rights, hindi nakakapigil ‘yan ng kamatayan—huwag ninyong gawin (ang krimen),” Duterte said.

“E tapos nandiyan ka nakabulagta and you are portrayed in a broadsheet na parang Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ. E ‘yan, ‘yang mga ‘yan, mag-dra-dramahan tayo dito…” he added, unmoved by stories of poor families grieving over the deaths of their drug pusher kin.

Duterte justified his radical methods by pointing to their reported immediate results. “Kami nag-tra-trabaho lang. We have a mission to God. We have millions of people to see that they are healthy. It’s a question of drugs, it’s a question of public interest, public order. Kita mo, lesser crime,” he said.